Slam Sermon: Sex Work

This is the poetry I recited for the slam sermon at my church.

The common occupations
Among my relations
Are sex work
And social work

One has their work
Foisted upon them
As an identity
For our moral supremacy
With language of care

The other is normalized
Invisible from all pulpits
Free of proselytizing

When you say prostitute
What I hear is the other
Not my brother or mother

Work is work until it is sex work
Am I right?
Our history of misogyny
Breathing today
In the lessons of the day

Injustice makes sex work
The best work

Tell me what job offers a living wage
When you’re eighteen and without family

Tell me what job offers a living wage
When you’re trans and mentally ill

Tell me what job offers a living wage
When you have PTSD and no degree

Tell me what job offers flexible hours
And let you work from home
Working with your mental illness
Instead of against it
Is it only okay when it is for the rich?
Is it only okay when it doesn’t offend
The sexual purity myth of this society?

You say prostitute
You think destitute

I say sex worker
I think how was that book
How was your date
And did you see that thing?
A normal experience
In a world of indifference

My partner works in a hospital
My partner is a derby coach
My partner makes porn
My partner sells her underwear

My friend is a talented artist
My friend pays for rent as an escort

My other friend is studying social work
My other friend does out calls

Yet another has made sex work her profession
Domination is her expression

Shall I go on?

Their work no more qualifies them to be reduced
Into objects for lessons to the righteous
Than a baker or a painter

Spare your pity
Legalize this economy
Make housing a right
Food a guarantee
Schooling all free

Regard not sex workers as outcasts
But cast out this injustice and inequality
That exist in your mentality

A lack of opportunity
Intertwine sex work with poverty
But sex work is work
Not moral edification
Sex work is work